ABUJA – Relief is on the way for motorists and other users going through agonies plying the terribly dilapidated Enugu-Onitsha expressway South East zone as the Federal Government has commenced the process for the rehabilitation of the highway.
Information available to Vanguard indicated that the government was considering giving out the reconstruction of the dual carriageway project to a competent construction firm under the Public Private Partnership, PPP, scheme.
A dependable source informed Vanguard that the process to give the highway a new look has started during a recent meeting between the Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola and the Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Wilie Obiano in Awka, the state capital.
Vanguard learnt that Mr. Fashola while expressing concerns over the deplorable state of the road resolved that the Governor should look for a very competent and reliable construction firm that can handle the rehabilitation works for possible approval.
It was however learnt that a Chinese construction company, China CAMCE Engineering Limited, has indicated interest to rehabilitation the highway under Built, Operate and Transfer, BOT, concession. This means the China CAMCE will rehabilitate the road and toll it for a number of years that will be agreed on to recoup its investment before transferring it to government
The delegation of China CAMCE Engineering Company Limited, led by Mr. Yu Tao recently visited Nigeria, where the Managing Director of its Nigerian partner, the Urban Tech Engineering Company Limited, Chief Kingsley Agha took them on investments tour of some Eastern states and Delta state.
It was on such mission that the deplorable condition of the highway caught the attention of the international businessmen from the conglomerate.
The story of the Enugu-Onitsha expressway was traumatic with the dual carriageway became death trap. On a good note, it takes approximately an hour to drive from Onitsha in Anambra State to Enugu, the capital city of the old Eastern, but at the moment, it takes over four tortuous hours to move from one end to the other due to the terrible condition of the federal expressway
The highway linking Anambra and Enugu States, due to its condition, many users have being exposed to unprecedented hazard with many fallen victims of armed robbery attacks and loss of lives and property from vehicles accidents.
For years, road users have been having ugly experience plying the expressway due to its dilapidated nature. And not even promises from politicians from administration to administration to rehabilitate the road came to fruition.
But the challenges would soon be thing of the past following frantic efforts by the present administration to concession the highway to the China CAMCE for rehabilitation.
Speaking with Vanguard on the development, the Managing Director of Urban Tech Engineering Company Limited, Chief Kingsley Agha, was optimistic the China CAMCE has the magic wand to turnaround the current sorry story of the highway.
Chief Agha whose company is in partnership with China CAMCE said the firm was ready for action, adding, “They are waiting for approval from the Federal Government; and the Governors of Enugu and Anambra State.”
“We were there and they saw the condition of the road. It is a Federal road, they are asking if they can be given the opportunity to develop that road and put toll gate to collect their investment back.
“And the affected states have undertaken to approach the Federal Government t and ask for formal approval for them to award the road to them. They are not asking for money, they will toll the gate and collect their investment back.”
He added, “This is one of the biggest Chinese companies that entered Nigerian market. They are coming with their money and have come to stay. They are not here to look for money but only to get guarantee of safe business environment.”
On whether the Federal and state governments would give them the concession to do job, he noted that, “I don’t see why not.”
He said the Federal Government is encouraging PPP and there is no money anywhere and the President has said “if you want to partner with Nigeria you must show consistency and passion for this government.”
“And this Chinese government has made available 60 billion dollars for Africa nations and we will stand to take a chunk of this, of which is Nigeria and that is what this company is doing, they don’t want Nigeria to miss out.
Agha also revealed “They have been approached by private developers come and build a rail line from Calabar to Gombe State for $2 billion under Build Operate Transfer, BOT, basis and the arrangement is ongoing. It is a PPP arrangement. “